Social media networking sites are becoming a silent snapper for the people who are seeking employment in a recession hit job market, as employers are now compelled to run social media employment background checks as their primary tool for hiring.

A real life story can be a better example to let you understand how social media employment background checks are hurting employment careers of people in a silence of midnight. Josh is a social media friend of mine; we have got connected almost 5 months ago through Facebook. One day, he told me his story about how social media employment background checks have affected his employment venture.

Let’s hear it from him,” Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace: The opportunities to join the wave of social networks are seemingly endless. Not wanting to be left behind, I jumped in feet first and joined all the popular social networks and posted all sorts of information about my likes and dislikes.

Like many people I joined Facebook as a way to connect with old friend and to make new friends/connections. I populated “my page” with information about where I live, my gender, my marital status, my desire to meet new people, my birth date, hometown, political views, religion, my favorite activities, favorite TV shows, favorite films, music preferences, contact information, and a simple bio. All the stuff is for my “friends” of whom I now have hundreds, most of whom I have known from work.

In much the same way, I have made access on LinkedIn where I have more than 500 friends on this more “business-like” network. My work history, references, job duties etc. are openly displayed and all you have to do is search for my name and you too can know too much about me. A number of colleagues have me recommendations and they are openly posted for the world to see.

I did the same social website relevant activities on MySpace and Twitter as well. After sometime I got a call from a recruiter who viewed my social media “public” profiles and wanted to talk to me about a CEO position at a new startup business. The truth is I am not looking for a job and I am very happy with my portfolio of entrepreneurial activities like writing, consulting, teaching etc. Yet, this call is clear evidence that social media networking works.

Yes, you can say that I am a real player in the social media universe. But, here is the rub. The employer already knew all about me, I mean he knows each and every thing about where I have been working in past years, what are my interests, about the co-workers who recommended me (he referenced me from them for cross check), he knows my current activities.

Candidly, I realized that he knew too much about me and it is my own fault. I disclosed all the information on these social networking websites—yep, I am really a player or, should I say, I am really a chump!

Listening to that story, anyone can understand that employer and recruiting agencies are peeking into your social media networking profiles and activities, whether your share a picture, commented on a friends note, shared a video etc. They are seeing everything and whenever you want your employment they will unveil all the facts, positive or negative, in-front of you.

Social media employment background checks are becoming a infectious these days as every employer want to screen his prospective employee from every nook and corner of his life to make a best hiring decision.

For job seekers, it is becoming another hurdle between their employment successes. Recently, The Federal Trade Commission of United States of America ruled that your postings on any social media site can be saved by on-line background screening companies for up to seven years. It may not sound so bad if you're a teen, but those postings could come back to haunt you in the future when you're job hunting.

Existing employees are as well in a row which will be hit by a strict monitoring through continuous social media employment background checks for different activities; their seven years of social media history can be checked for compliance to company laws.

Social media employment background checks are compiled into a report with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria, like online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity.

How to Resolve the Situation – Let Me define the 9 Simple Ways to Survive a Social Media Employment Background Checks:

1. Be friendly but don’t be stupid. Be careful about who you allow in your network since friendship is about quality not quantity.

2. Keep your profile page simple. Try not to overload the page with goofy widgets, bells and whistles.

3. Post tasteful photos only. Pictures of you and your friends in a drunken stupor from last weekend could prove to be hazardous to your career.

4. Avoid trashing your friends, classmates, work colleagues and employers.

5. Use spell-check and write in English. Text-speak can be unbecoming to a professional.

6. Always respond to your friend’s requests and messages.

7. Be-Aware and Create Awareness: This is darn need of a time to raise awareness and caution among the people over how digital footprints remaining on social media can affect current and future employment prospects.

8. Now everyone must have to understand that if they are becoming social then they should know that they are being watched and every single comment on a social networking site is recorded to be used when the one is going for a job hunt.

9. Always prompt for tight privacy settings on your personalize profile on any of your social media site, so only that information can be accessed which you want to be seen publicly.

Concluding with another interesting anecdote:

My dear friend Robert smith told me about inappropriate picture sharing can hurt, he explains, “A former employee of mine and a “friend” just sent me a FaceBook “news feed” showing pictures of her at a bachelorette party stuffing dollar bills down a male stripper’s thong. She seemed to be having a great time, but what image does this portray to a potential employer doing a background check? Might it kill the job offer? I think it might.”

My Personal Recommendation:

Make sure your social media public profile on these websites is purged of any information that might be controversial or extreme, since your next employer might be viewing it for social media employment background checks.

Author's Bio: 

Muhammad Saad Khan is a professional writer indulged in writing for effectiveness of social media in growing businesses all around the world; his recent work is about social media employment background checks, its evolution and development in the background screening industry.